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Title: Extracting Hydrocarbon from Shale: An Investigation of the Factors That Influence the Decline and the Tail of the Production Curve

Abstract

Understanding physical processes that control the long-term production of hydrocarbon from shale formations is important for both predicting the yield and increasing it. In this work, we explore the processes that could control the tail of the production curve by using a discrete fracture network method to calculate the total travel time from the rock matrix to small-scale fractures to the primary hydraulic fracture network. The factors investigated include matrix diffusion, extent of the small-scale fracture zone (or tributary fracture zone/TFZ) consisting of natural, reactivated and induced fractures, and the percentage of free hydrocarbon in the primary fracture network. Individual and combined parameter spaces are explored for each of these to understand the limits of these parameters as well as any systematic correlations between pairs of parameters. Although recent studies have shown that the matrix diffusion in virgin shale influences the production tail only after nearly 20 years, we demonstrate that matrix diffusion in the region of the TFZ significantly impacts production within the first year itself. Additionally, we found that the depth of TFZ fracturing region had no effect on the shape of the production curves although the total mass of the hydrocarbon produced increases with the depth. Wemore » also show that one can fit the production data using a site-specific set of parameters representing the diffusion in the TFZ, depth of the TFZ and the free hydrocarbon in the large-scale fractures.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [2]; ORCiD logo [2];  [2];  [2]; ORCiD logo [2];  [2]; ORCiD logo [2]; ORCiD logo [2]
  1. Michigan State Univ., East Lansing, MI (United States)
  2. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC). Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22); USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1438117
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1438944
Report Number(s):
LA-UR-17-30119
Journal ID: ISSN 0043-1397
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC52-06NA25396; 20170103DR
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Water Resources Research
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 54; Journal Issue: 5; Journal ID: ISSN 0043-1397
Publisher:
American Geophysical Union (AGU)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
04 OIL SHALES AND TAR SANDS; Earth Sciences; discrete fracture network; transport; hydrocarbon; production; hydraulic fracturing; matrix

Citation Formats

Lovell, A. E., Srinivasan, S., Karra, S., O'Malley, D., Makedonska, N., Viswanathan, H. S., Srinivasan, G., Carey, J. W., and Frash, L. P. Extracting Hydrocarbon from Shale: An Investigation of the Factors That Influence the Decline and the Tail of the Production Curve. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.1029/2017WR022180.
Lovell, A. E., Srinivasan, S., Karra, S., O'Malley, D., Makedonska, N., Viswanathan, H. S., Srinivasan, G., Carey, J. W., & Frash, L. P. Extracting Hydrocarbon from Shale: An Investigation of the Factors That Influence the Decline and the Tail of the Production Curve. United States. doi:10.1029/2017WR022180.
Lovell, A. E., Srinivasan, S., Karra, S., O'Malley, D., Makedonska, N., Viswanathan, H. S., Srinivasan, G., Carey, J. W., and Frash, L. P. Tue . "Extracting Hydrocarbon from Shale: An Investigation of the Factors That Influence the Decline and the Tail of the Production Curve". United States. doi:10.1029/2017WR022180. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1438117.
@article{osti_1438117,
title = {Extracting Hydrocarbon from Shale: An Investigation of the Factors That Influence the Decline and the Tail of the Production Curve},
author = {Lovell, A. E. and Srinivasan, S. and Karra, S. and O'Malley, D. and Makedonska, N. and Viswanathan, H. S. and Srinivasan, G. and Carey, J. W. and Frash, L. P.},
abstractNote = {Understanding physical processes that control the long-term production of hydrocarbon from shale formations is important for both predicting the yield and increasing it. In this work, we explore the processes that could control the tail of the production curve by using a discrete fracture network method to calculate the total travel time from the rock matrix to small-scale fractures to the primary hydraulic fracture network. The factors investigated include matrix diffusion, extent of the small-scale fracture zone (or tributary fracture zone/TFZ) consisting of natural, reactivated and induced fractures, and the percentage of free hydrocarbon in the primary fracture network. Individual and combined parameter spaces are explored for each of these to understand the limits of these parameters as well as any systematic correlations between pairs of parameters. Although recent studies have shown that the matrix diffusion in virgin shale influences the production tail only after nearly 20 years, we demonstrate that matrix diffusion in the region of the TFZ significantly impacts production within the first year itself. Additionally, we found that the depth of TFZ fracturing region had no effect on the shape of the production curves although the total mass of the hydrocarbon produced increases with the depth. We also show that one can fit the production data using a site-specific set of parameters representing the diffusion in the TFZ, depth of the TFZ and the free hydrocarbon in the large-scale fractures.},
doi = {10.1029/2017WR022180},
journal = {Water Resources Research},
number = 5,
volume = 54,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {4}
}

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Figures / Tables:

Figure 1 Figure 1: Plot showing the production curve prediction compared to site data from the Haynesville formation. This simulation only included free hydrocarbon flow in the primary hydraulic and natural fracture network and was able to predict the peak production well. However, this transport process is not sufficient to capture themore » tail. Our hypothesis in this paper, based on this comparison, is that one needs to consider advective transport in smaller-scale fractures connected to the primary fracture network and diffusion from the matrix around these smaller-scale fractures.« less

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